I’ve been in NZ a whopping 4.5 years now, and only been home to MN 3 times. I think this last trip was my fave. Okay, all of my trips have been awesome. I did love the sledding and gingerbread house making of 2008. And of course last year there was the epic BWCA crazy canoe trip, and the state fair, and the family photos. But this last time since it was just me (good thing too, as BF and I broke up the week after I got back. Meaning, last week), it was a different trip. Three weeks of just awesome times with my fam and friends.
It was amazing. I really felt like I “re-connected” (or connected for the first time – eek!) with a lot of people. I felt that if I came home tomorrow, I could slot back in to almost my same exact life that I left behind in 2007 (which is both awesome and kinda disconcerting at the same time!). Here I am thinking I’ve changed so much, and then realizing that I maybe haven’t changed at all? It’s so weird. I think I am probably over thinking it. Anyways, I am already saving my pennies to visit again in 2012! But part of me is worried. Ok a little paranoid. I had so much fun hanging out with some of my nephews (I took 2 of them to see Captain America. Yeah, I am totally the cool auntie). And my parents and I took 4 of them canoeing! But next year the 3 oldest will all be teenagers and you know what happens. *cue scary music* I’m not gonna be cool or fun to hang out with anymore. : ( I’m totally gutted because just this year it’s like – hey, my nephews and nieces are really cool! And next year I’ll still think they’re cool, and some of them will probably think I’m lame. GUTTED!
Hanging around Minneapolis with my MN besties. It was amazing. It was like college again (only, well, we’re more awesome now, and I think we have better hair).
Spending time on Glorious Lake you-know-what. Perfecting the art of slalom waterskiing (finally proving that I truly am a member of the family! Woo hoo rite of passage!). Woot woot! Next year it’s going to be “getting halfway decent” on one ski, maybe getting up on one ski, and improving my wakeboarding skills (because hey, that is pretty fun too!). I should also learn how to drive the boat AND I might be allowed to cook a meal at our family weekend invasion (or maybe not now that bf and I are no more). I also wouldn’t mind taking a road trip out to the black hills and Mt. Rushmore (which I’ve never seen! gasp!) and Crazy horse and Deadwood and maybe Devil’s tower… Could be super fun! I am hopefully going for 4 weeks next year so there’s no reason not too…
I also did a large amount of shopping while I was home. Like a lot of pre-trip internet shopping and one very intensive day in Minneapolis. I kinda miss shopping. Like, going into a store and seeing something you love. And then trying something on. Buying cute stuff on sale. This is quite a novelty for me because Dunedin Stores SUCK. Maybe it’s because I’m a foreigner but honestly clothes don’t fit me properly here. And they’re expensive. And ugly. At least my sister understands the shopping thing (ok, probably not the ugly and ill-fitting thing as she is in London – but possibly the expensive thing). She had me browse through this book, A Broad Abroad. There is an entire chapter on shopping – how you come home and load up on cosmetics and underwear. And it’s true. I actually bought no less than 20 pairs of underwear. And I bought new foundation too (last year it was mascara!). Okay, underwear here is something like $10NZD a pair on sale and it’s not as nice. And nice cosmetics? Don’t get me started. Foundation? Good brand? Easily $60+NZD. So for me to go into a shopping mall and go a little crazy? Well, it’s my annual stock up. I can’t help myself! On a side note, my old foundation was purchased in 2006. Yep, replacement was needed.
So big changes. I’m moving out of BF’s house (our house?). And I’m actually nearing the end of my time here in NZ (well, even though I am no where near the end of my PhD, I keep telling myself I’m going to submit around June 2013 – that’s only 2 years away – and graduate that following Dec.). I should actually think about downsizing all the crap I’ve accumulated here. Last year at this time I didn’t care – I thought I’d have a house, a home, here forever with BF (and his, our house). But now… well I’m truly back to being a temporary visitor. I mean, a lot can happen in 2.5 years. But I now know that there is a lot waiting for me in MN. In fact, there is an entire life waiting for me there, that I think I can step into at any point in time. Which is pretty reassuring. But for now, I shall enjoy the good life here in NZ.